by William Trollinger
Referring to the image displayed here, which Ken Ham has circulated via Twitter and Facebook, a friend asked if, by adding the “pedophilia” flag to the “secular worldview” fortress, Ham “is trying to appeal to QAnon” devotees?
It seems obvious that the answer is yes.
For those of you who have remained blessedly ignorant of this particular form of right-wing lunacy, the QAnon conspiracy theory holds that (quoting from Wikipedia)
a cabal of Satanic, cannibalistic pedophiles operate a global child sex trafficking ring and conspired against former President Donald Trump during his term in office . . . One shared belief among QAnon members is that Trump was planning a massive sting operation on the cabal, with mass arrests of thousands of cabal members to take place on a day known as the Storm. QAnon supporters have accused many Hollywood actors, Democratic politicians, and high-ranking government officials of being members of the cabal, with [this is not a shocker] little or no evidence.
More than any other group of Americans, white evangelicals – 27% – believe that “Donald Trump has been secretly fighting a group of child sex traffickers led by prominent Democrats and Hollywood elites.” So, in linking “pedophilia” to the “secular worldview,” Ham is playing to his base.
Now, to be fair, I have not seen articles or blog posts or Facebook comments in which Ham specifically affirms the QAnon conspiracy theory. On the other hand, Ham and Answers in Genesis (AiG) have not critiqued QAnon, unlike evangelical pastors who are asserting that QAnon in particular and Christian nationalism in general (of which QAnon is a part) are at odds with the Gospel.
In fact, and on the contrary, just a few weeks before the 2020 election Ham turned over Ark Encounter to QAnon enthusiast Trey Smith. Smith, whose previous video “credits” include The Day of Reckoning: the Q, entitled his Ark Encounter film, The Coming Storm: A Donald J. Trump documentary inside Noah’s Ark. In this almost unwatchable video Smith – who expends a great deal of energy praising Ham and his boat – asserts that:
- The spirit of the Antichrist has been with us throughout history, as evinced by Hollywood actors and their “witchy people” lurking behind them.
- Facing soon-to-be-revealed scandalous revelations, two Supreme Court justices will step down.
- God will take a simple stone (perhaps Roger Stone), and folks will mock him, and then we will hear the sounds of victory as Trump emerges triumphant.
- God has dictated that Donald Trump will have two terms.
All of this would suggest – more than suggest, actually – that in adding the pedophilia flag to the secular worldview fortress, Ken Ham is making a pitch to white evangelical QAnon devotees. Besides everything else, he can’t afford to alienate them, just like he can’t afford to alienate white nationalists.
One other thing about Ham’s fortress image. In Righting America at the Creation Museum Susan Trollinger and I argue that Ham and AiG and the Christian Right hold to a radical binary (149). In this binary the world is divided into two groups, Christian and Secular. Each group is identified with a set of linked terms that necessarily are the opposite of the other group’s set of linked terms.
So, according to this image, to be secular is to be a racist pedophile who supports the killing of babies and the disabled, and who suffers from gender confusion. To be Christian is to be “color-blind,” anti-pedophiliac, life-affirming, and very clear on the gender binary and one’s place within it.
So much to be said here. Especially about race. More later.